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Dowell Loggains should return in 2017

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The Bears have problems but offensive coordinator might not be one

NFL: Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The headline might give the impression that this is a Chicago Bears hot take and in some respects it might be, but stay with me for a minute.

The Bears have plenty of issues to deal with when the season ends in three weeks, they’ll have a lot of decisions to make and a lot to do in order to improve from their current 3-10 record but offensive coordinator is not where the issue lies.

This is something I’ve been pondering but decided to write about after reading this Moon Mullin piece on CSNChicago.com.

Perhaps the biggest criticism of Loggains is his inconsistency with the run, specifically giving carries to rookie stud running back Jordan Howard.

It was a dominant theme in today’s Bears Den headlines. It’s been an ongoing talking point and area of concern since Howard started breaking out back in late September.

There could be a couple of excuses for it.

For one thing, the Bears have trailed late in a lot of games. In fact, going back to the bye week they’ve trailed from relatively early on in the second half of every game they’ve played with the exception of San Francisco.

While Howard is one of the most consistent playmakers they have, it’s difficult to stay committed to the run when trailing by two or more scores.

Second, Howard remains a rookie and this late in the season he is in danger of hitting the wall. The Bears could just be trying to preserve him for the future and, with the team trailing, it’s a good reason to put him on the sideline, especially with Howard’s struggles as a receiver.

There are also several things that Loggains has going for him as reasons to stay and that is quarterback development.

Give credit where credit is due and while the Bears’ offense ranks 17th overall and 30th in points scored, consider the amount of injuries that the unit has had to overcome.

Loggains has had five different starting offensive line combinations, they’ve missed starting wide receivers Alshon Jeffery, Eddie Royal, Kevin White and starting tight end Zach Miller.

With all that going on, the Bears’ rushing offense has improved this season with fewer carries. The Bears average 4.4 YPC, up for 4.0 in 2015 but have the third-fewest carries in the league this season.

Keep in mind too that teams are stacking the box against the Bears because they are playing their third quarterback. Don’t forget that either: Loggains has had three different starting quarterbacks.

The work he’s done with that group deserves mentioning too.

Loggains has managed to get the most out of career back-up Brian Hoyer, who played some of the best football of his career under Loggains and attempted way more passes than one would be comfortable giving someone of Hoyer’s resume.

The coordinator has also taken Matt Barkley, a pick off of the proverbial scrap heap and actually turned him into a decent spot-starting quarterback and even has some fans and analysts asking if he could be a longer-term start for Chicago.

While that might be a stretch, there is little doubt that Barkley has earned the right to start the final three games for the Bears and should get a restricted free agent tender offer to come back to camp next year as well.

Loggains may not be perfect but he’s still a young coach. He’s still learning. He worked with relatively awful collections of talent in former stops in Cleveland and Tennessee and hasn’t gotten a lot more to work with in Chicago either.

But he’s managed to get two back up QBs to play clean, turnover limited football and as a position coach for Jay Cutler in 2015, had him playing at a high level too. No coach has ever gotten Cutler to play well for more than a season so that shouldn’t be a negative mark on Loggains report card either.

Loggains has shown that he can tutor young quarterbacks and save their careers in the process. He’s had some good game plans too.

The Bears are going to have some staff turnover in the offseason and likely bring in a new quarterback as well. Loggains has proven that despite some shortcomings, maybe he is the guy to develop the next Chicago Bears starting quarterback.